Why You Should Never Let a Baby Sleep in a Car Seat

by | September 14, 2018

I remember after my first child, the endless advice from online and real-life friends, on how the car seat straps should be positioned, to never put pillows in their crib, to the dangers of co-sleeping, yet, never did anyone mention about not letting a baby sleep in a car seat being dangerous. 

One mom’s story about her little one sleeping in a car seat will make you reevaluate your advice for friends for the future. 

Trigger Warning: Loss

sleep in a car seat

We have enough studies and experts that tell us that to sleep in a car seat is dangerous, but that doesn’t mean as parents, we haven’t experienced sitting in a car, passing time on our phones, trapped in the driveway, while a little one snoozes away. 

However, one moms story will shock you to your core, and remind us of the serious dangers of letting a baby sleep in a car seat. 

Three short years ago, Lisa Smith’s nightmare began when her daycare called her to say that, Mia didn’t wake up from her nap. She had slumped down in her car seat while asleep and suffered from possible positional asphyxia. 

“I got a call while I was at work,” Smith says. “Worst call I’ve ever had in my life. ‘Drop everything. Mia didn’t wake up from her nap.’” While she says she and her husband were aware of the dangers of sleeping in car seats and didn’t allow Mia to sleep in hers in their home, her childcare provider was not.


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Trapped In The Driveway While a Little One Goes To Sleep in a Car Seat

“There’s nothing about the car seat that’s designed to sleep,” Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s Hospital, tells WFAA News. “Of course, if the straps aren’t tight, the child can kind of slump down.” Evans says many parents are under the impression that car seats can be used to let little ones sleep in outside of the car. The main problem with this is the straps as well as the position of the child’s head — babies especially can have issues with head support and maintaining the proper position.

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sleep in a car seat

Smith said that she feels parents are just unaware of the dangers of being allowed to sleep in a car seat. “I walk around town and see people using a car seat on the seats at restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables,” she said. “I literally walk up to people and I say, ‘You know, I had a daughter who was seventeen-and-a-half months who passed away and I just want you to be really careful.’”

This isn’t a mom who’s being alarmist or passing judgment on other parents. This is a mother who has lived through the worst possible thing any parent could ever be forced to endure — but she’s looking out for other parents because once you’re a mother, you’re a mother always.

“She was our first born, our only child, and she didn’t deserve what happened to her. But other families don’t deserve this to happen to them either.” she added.

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sleep in a car seat

Story appeared in Scary Mommy

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Emma Williams

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via emma@raisevegan.com

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